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Pattern making learning process

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Right off the bat, I want to be very clear here. I have never made a pattern. I have never made a garment. I am learning this as I go. I am not an expert. Disclaimer accomplished.

Meanwhile, over on page 401 of the Fivestar thread, I stole some of my daughter's art supplies and started messing around. I had a design that looks good in 2D on paper, and given the fact that Fivestar will make whatever without any guard rails against things that just don't work, I wanted to make sure that it would actually work in real life like it did in my head. Spoiler alert. Noop. Sorta. A little. Enough to make me want to keep messing with it. But, no.

The design drawn large, but ultimately a sketch of a jacket laid flat on a table top... laid flat on a table top.
IMG_5284.JPG


Then I duplicated it, cut it out, and cut through where the darts were in my drawing.
IMG_5285.JPG


Then I messed around with the angle that the darts were overlapped onto themselves, and taped them. The result was the below.
IMG_5286.JPG

The aim was to match the curvature of my back.
Pilates+Collective+Denver+-+alignment+of+the+spine.png

The problem is that the panel stops at my waist, which is where the thoracic curve turns into the lumbar curve... It's got an S-curve, but that's not what's supposed to be happening in that panel. So...

Fortunately, at this point, my wife stepped in. She's quite the sewing hobbyist with a background in theatre (not your typical tech company IT Director). She flushed all of that for me, and pointed me in the right direction. She started out by pulling out a pattern for a generic bodice. Obviously, it's a women's pattern, but backs is pretty much backs. She took my measurements, and printed me up a bodice pattern that was more or less my measurements, and I used it to make another paper template. I drew my darts onto this, and we played around with it.

Unfortunately, at this point in the process, I didn't really know what I was doing, where I was going, or how I was going to get there. This thread was not on my radar, and so documentation is unfortunately lacking. Fortunately, wife had a clue, and did her best to preserve my design while making the curve actually work. We organically found ourselves with a fairly classic set of darts as described here. Again, this is oriented toward female garments, but backs is backs.

Ultimately, we found ourselves here:

The pattern totally flat showing the location, angle, length, and width of the darts (zoom in for actual numbers):
flat.JPG


Darts connected, but with the pattern laid flat. This makes it extra domey, because it sort of flattens out when it wraps around your torso:
dome above.JPG

From the side, still flat on the table:
profile from side.JPG

From below, still flat on the table:
profile from below.JPG


Here's another documentation lapse... We used scotch tape (the kind that releases easily) to tape the pattern to my shirt, and I moved all around. Arms in a full circle, touched my toes, rocked at my waist, etc. In the process of doing so, my shirt shifted around, so where the pattern initially sat exactly on the seams on my shoulders, for instance, it got a little twisted and my shirt bunched up. It makes the pattern look a little disheveled, but the fact that it's still attached using only "magic release" Scotch tape really shows how well this fits.

Straight on:
fit straight.jpeg

From the side:
fit right.JPG


The pattern at this point matches the curve of my back pretty much exactly. If it were the back panel of a jacket, it would be skin tight. This might actually not be the worst thing in the world, but I want some ease for layering and weight fluctuation.

What I learned from this exercise:
The goal was to figure out how darts work so that my design for Fivestar turns out like I want it to. Here's what I figured out:

- The darts need to point to the high spot. In this case, shoulder blades.
- If they're too wide/the angle is too large, the result will be a point instead of a dome.
- The angle of the dart affects the resulting curve, but it's sort of a complex relationship that's hard to explain, assuming I even understand it. The arch appears to form mostly perpendicular to the dart, so you want the darts oriented accordingly from the major seam adjacent. If you angle the dart like I did at the start, it just kinda does weird stuff. There's probably a way to mess with the angle to fine tune things a little more, but I'm not there yet.
- Longer darts make for tighter curves. Wider darts also make for tighter curves.

Again, just to stress, I do NOT know what I'm doing here. Playing it by ear. I believe the next step is to make the back panel larger for ease. Doing this at the seams/edges is pretty straight forward: bigger is bigger. If I add an inch to each side, that's the equivalent of 4" ease (I think) with 2" in the back panel and the same in the front panel. With the darts, that means I need to make them shorter, but I have to make them narrower proportionally. The pattern makers' ruler is clear with those 1/8" lines. I can incrementally shrink the darts proportionally using those lines. Setting the ruler down so that the 1/8" line is on top of the dart lines, and then trace the edge. Then just iterate.

Unfortunately, that means I need to cash in some social capital with wife. In a perfect world, I'd have a dress form. In this one, I just have me. It's hard to do my back since it's... you know... back there. Can't really reach or see what I'm doing. I'll hopefully get to this this weekend, and I'll try to document better going forward as I figure this out.

Also on the "next steps" list is the front equivalent of this back plate. That will hopefully be simpler.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,236
I am no expert either, but there is one itch I always wanted to scratch and that is Kangaroo leather jacket. Since it is outlawed in California and Johnson is in California, I am left with not a lot of options. Worst case scenario I would just take apart one of my 20 dollars GAP truckers, copy it and try to put it all back together in Roo leather. I guess if I am willing to spend more I could always find a custom maker that could make me the Roo jacket without breaking any laws, but Roo hides I've found are quite expensive already. Anyways, this would be like a 5 year thing for me. I still need to fix my little Singer I promised myself I would fix from like 2 years ago. haha.

Back to your quest, the back contouring shape of your prototype pattern looks a lot like the Hercules fancy back pattern, maybe this could be the design:
Image2.jpg
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
I am no expert either, but there is one itch I always wanted to scratch and that is Kangaroo leather jacket. Since it is outlawed in California and Johnson is in California, I am left with not a lot of options. Worst case scenario I would just take apart one of my 20 dollars GAP truckers, copy it and try to put it all back together in Roo leather. I guess if I am willing to spend more I could always find a custom maker that could make me the Roo jacket without breaking any laws, but Roo hides I've found are quite expensive already. Anyways, this would be like a 5 year thing for me. I still need to fix my little Singer I promised myself I would fix from like 2 years ago. haha.

Back to your quest, the back contouring shape of your prototype pattern looks a lot like the Hercules fancy back pattern, maybe this could be the design:
View attachment 592747
Once I have the shell, I think I could use it to make the flat panel yoke like that. The entire back still has to have material strategically removed to make it three dimensional, but I haven't gone beyond the darts yet. It may turn out, as I sit here thinking on the subject with this suggestion in front of me, that the shell can serve as the basis for pretty much any design you want... Sorta like how I think Fivestar is copying over design elements onto a flat pattern. As long as you make your flat pieces from that curved shape, you have your three dimensional end result.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,236
Looking at the photos again, what you've got there also reminds me of a custom made tailor's form, or parts of it. With a front piece and some hardening paper marche you've got your own very personalized tailors form to create all your custom jackets from. It's always easier to see something physical in front than looking at a mirror image.

Like these duct tape made ones:

And this one even went one step further and made with zipper so it could be travelled with:

And this one went all the way to full body with arms and legs

With a customized tailor form to work on, you could literally tape panels to it to make the design (work in 3D) instead of working from the paper on desktop in 2D. That was always another thing I wanted to do but never got to it, to make dummies of myself but my idea was to prank my family members, it could also work for jackets.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Some more photos and some information:

Here are all the discarded drafts in a wadded up pile before going out for recycling. That belt there on top toward the bottom left of the pile is 12" long.
IMG_5363.JPG


Meanwhile, a bit more intel from the wife's piece of the puzzle.
IMG_5364.JPG

Here's where we started pattern-wise. This is just one piece (back bodice) from some random pattern she had for a dress that she knew was fitted with darts. The pattern costs $12, but is often on sale for $5. I believe there's enough information there to find it if anyone were so inclined. The pattern comes as a PDF with layers for sizes. The critical measurement is chest circumference. You select the layer for your size, and then print the pages required to cut and tape it all together. That is where we started from. I have the printed pages for the front here somewhere, but it might have been colored on by now...

A major piece I'm missing, as Canuck Panda points out, is the dress form. That would cut down on the need for wife assistance on the back... I think something like this is in my future... I don't need the (imprecise) adjustments if I'm only interested in making a pattern for myself...

This is snowballing out of control here, people... I'm already planning a trip to Tandy or something once I get a little further along for some cheap garment leather to try things out with. Also going to need to figure out a sewing machine. While I have everything required all the way down to raw linen and beeswax for making my own waxed linen thread, I don't want to stitch an entire jacket by hand.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
I taught myself how to make guitars from scratch when I was 16… I already work with leather in other applications. I don’t need more machines taking up space.

… but I like machines…

Wife agreed to help me make a dress form…
 
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11,002
Location
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It’s not very big…and your wife could use it too. Think of the garments and decor you could create for the young’in.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
She HAS sewing machineS, and I'm in the process of remodeling her sewing room (along with about 1/3rd of the house). She makes things for our daughter all the time, and I'm sure son-to-be will get his share as well.

Between the electronics, watchmaking, and existing leather work IN ADDITION TO actual work which has its own machinery and equipment I probably shouldn't go too deep into for lawyer reasons in my office AND the luthiery and furniture making in my shop AND the metal working, automotive (including project cars and a trailer and a car club I started a year ago and have to manage), and advanced homeowner tooling (for a century hold house in the Rocky Mountains) in the barn, I am FULL UP!!!!

I've wanted to make a jacket for years, and even have a crappy commercial pattern and materials for a prototype I never got around to. I even went and talked to a commercial sewing machine dealer down in Denver a few years back. I really wasn't planning to do more than have a jacket made (and I still will due to the time required to get to a wearable result), but there's been a bit of a revelation on the pattern making side, and I've just barely dipped a toe in here. You guys egging me on is not helping. Wife isn't helping either, because we're finally crossing swords here... But I have a genuine concern that thar might be (expensive) dragons.

I'm pretty much committed at this point... I've gotta figure out this pattern stuff. My brain wouldn't let me let it go if I wanted to. I'm too close. Once I have the pattern stuff figured out, it's not exactly a tall leap to actually sewing something together. From there a liner seems like it should be a downhill trek. It's going to take time with everything going on in my life that has mandatory higher precedence, but this is pretty much my winter project for what's left of this winter. It'll probably be next winter's project to get it finished, but that's life.

Forget the paper pattern I'm working on using myself as the dress form for now. Majorly difficult way to go about it. Next step is making a dress form. Wife has agreed to help. It's a done deal. I've got a car club event Saturday, and if I have cooperative weather I HAVE TO get some work done on at least one car Sunday, so it's going to take some time, but that's the next step. If I knew where I'd be heading with this, it would have been the first step.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,236
I want the expensive machines too. But I would caution against buying them up front. What I got now is an inexpensive Singer for home, the grey one with an extra walking foot attachment. With the right needle it does wonders. May not be as powerful or fast as the expensive Jukis or Consew but I can sew through thick denim no issue. Haven't tried leather. But the expensive machine is really for production, there is speed control and that's the expensive function. My little home Singer has had bobbin timing problem twice now, and it's a pain in the ass to fix it because I had to take apart the whole bottom to get access to it and I am clumsy with tiny screws. I would assume the expensive machines are easier to maintain or with easier bobbin mechanism.

Anyways, here is a video of an amateur saddle stitching a leather jacket. Too much glue for me but I guess they're needed cause she used it to replace blind stitching which is much easier on a machine. The saddle stitch is basically just a top stitch and she made the jacket the way of making a wallet I suppose. I've watched this video a bunch of times, very inspiring.

The person in the video used a store bought pattern it seems. And I still think if you can make your own pattern that fits you, you're already half way there. The sewing of sleeves to the bodice will probably be the most difficult task after that.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
I almost bought a new Juki several years ago, but with my mechanical skills/tools figured I'd be better off getting one used and rough and rebuilding it. I just never found one before other things took over. That was back when I was working with much heavier leathers than anything you'd find in a garment though. I seem to recall garment leather machines being much cheaper and lighter weight. I was looking at the heavy duty Singers last night, and those can be had new in the neighborhood of $200 without even trying. Add a walking foot, and that's more than plenty for what I'd need for this.

Trick for me at this exact moment is the home remodel project. 1/3 of my house is down to the studs, and everything is crammed into the other 2/3rds like we have a hoarding problem. I'm officing in the dining room right now, and barely have enough room to squeeze myself in, let alone another machine/work space. I'd probably need a skiving machine too, and I'm not sure how the manual guys do with the softer stuff. Aside from that laptop bag in the microscopy thread, I've never worked with anything you couldn't tool if you wanted.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
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3,590
Trick for me at this exact moment is the home remodel project. 1/3 of my house is down to the studs, and everything is crammed into the other 2/3rds like we have a hoarding problem

You're going to end up using this pivot to remodel your house as half leather workshop and showroom.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Non-update: didn't get the form made this weekend. It is definitely going to happen, I just couldn't swing it this past weekend.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Got the form started. Wife taped me up, then cut me out. Gotta close it back up, plug the holes, and get it stuffed and on a stand. Still a ways to go before I can get back onto the actual pattern, but it's progress.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Had touch a chaos over the last few weeks... Wasn't the worst thing though, because all the tutorials for making dress forms omit everything after being cut out of the shell, finish it too lightly built to be all that effective, or screw it up. So I wanted some time to noodle on an effective finishing and stand strategy.

Assuming anyone following has seen or can easily find one of the many tutorials referenced, what I've done is measure out the circumference of each of the four openings, and using that information, drawn out approximate shapes of the body parts that come out of them using a flexible tape. Then traced/cut that out of some furniture grade plywood I had laying around.

I put the neck disc into the neck hole, and used an angle gauge and level to figure out what angle the neck is at relative to vertical (turned out to be a pretty convenient 15°), and cut that out of the end of a 2X4 with a miter saw. The other end was cut square at 3' for a stub length. I got some short screws and framing brackets from Home Depot, and joined the post to the neck disc.

Then I used some small tack nails to connect the shell to the neck and arm discs.

Stuffing was one of the challenges. It needs to be firm enough to stand up and take some manipulation, but also soft enough to take a pin. It also needs to be workable and repositionable as needed. The material I decided to use for stuffing is film plastic. Checks all the boxes, is free, and has the bonus of reusing a difficult to dispose of material. Some places (here, for instance) allow recycling of film plastic, but reuse is better than recycling. We have a dedicated trash can for it. I dug out all the film plastic that wasn't originally used for food, and stuffed the thing as much as I could. Seems to be working great, but I ran out of plastic... I probably need to generate another can full before I can close it up for good and move on to the final finishing steps... Whatever that ends up being... Haven't given it much thought yet.
 

Dbtk44

New in Town
Messages
43
Just what I need, ideas for yet another project..lol the other 867 can wait now!

Anyway, lots of great food for thought here! I used to make wool/leather vests about a million years ago, and drafted my own pattern for them. Unfortunately lost the pattern sometime back in the 90s.

One of the best things I ever did was make a duct tape form of myself from a snug t-shirt and batting, and it really made life much easier...so much more you can do when it's in FRONT of you, as opposed to ON you. Unless you have a couple extra joints in your arms anyway. And detachable eyeballs. It was REALLY helpful when I made a couple vaquero jackets, so I'd think it would be invaluable in an endeavor such as this.
 

spectre6000

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
It was briefly touched on in the microscopy thread that I was planning to pull a pattern off a Vanson this past weekend.

So much for that... I've lived in Colorado for 12 years, mostly in the foothills/mountains above Denver. I've seen floods, fires, blizzards, bears, mountain lions, literal deer on my literal roof just before Xmas, swarms of wild turkeys taking over infrastructure (yes literally, but basically just a buttload of turkeys camping out on the road, and the turkeys too stupid to get out of the road, and tourists too stupid to just drive and let them get out of the way), you name it. On Saturday, we had a WIND storm. 100 mph gusts. No precipitation, solid or liquid. Just wind. Trees, lines, and poles down all over the place scattershot. Took out power from down in the front range (local vernacular for the urban area at the base of the mountains) all the way out to Fairplay (aka South Park, like the cartoon where a swarm of wild turkeys took over... something... in a slightly more dramatic and comical fashion probably 20 seasons ago). Things started failing Saturday afternoon, and we didn't get back online here until 2:30am or so this morning... No power, which means no communications, heat, or water (private wells up here). I'm on the eastern (Denver side) edge of the affected mountain area, so I have no doubt there are a lot of people west of me still in the cold and dark. On top of that, my wife and I picked up a bug traveling the week prior. Our 4yo did not. So there was also that little impediment on top of the whole mess.

Needless to say, the patterning exercise did not occur.
 

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